10 Tips to Curb Holiday Waste

Looking for a fright this Halloween? Consider that 1.3 of the 1.9 billion pounds of pumpkins grown each year end up in landfills, secreting methane and contributing to climate change. Scarier still is that American household waste increases by 25% between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day adding an additional 1 million tons a week to landfills!

We could share even more chilling statistics, but we hope these two provide enough motivation to help you channel some of your holiday excitement towards more sustainable practices. If you’d like to create less waste for the holidays, read on and adopt a few of these tips:

Halloween

1. Compost your pumpkin! You can still carve your pumpkin, just be sure to compost it afterwards instead of throwing it in the trash – the guts too. Bonus points if you keep and roast the seeds!

2. Get your costume from a swap or local thrift shop. This year Americans are expected to spend a collective $3.2 billion on costumes. But since most people don’t re-wear costumes, you can get a bargain costume in great condition. Your planet and your wallet will thank you.

Thanksgiving

3. Engage in realistic menu planning. It’s easy to get carried away with the Thanksgiving menu, but the brilliant minds at SaveTheFood.com have created a dinner party calculator that helps you plan realistically to minimize waste and keep your guests happy.

4. Use your freezer or donate leftovers to your local food pantry. If you like leftovers, make use of your freezer to keep them from spoiling. If you don’t like leftovers, find out where you can donate them.

5. Compost. Compost! Compost!! If all else fails, and you need to dispose of food, make sure you do so in your compost cart, not in the trash!

Black Friday & CyberMonday

6. Shop local on Small Business Saturday. 96% of consumers who reported shopping on Small Business Saturday said the day makes them want to Shop Small all year long. Start a new tradition and stop accumulating unnecessary packing materials. (Don’t forget to stop by The Recology Store!)

7. Gift experiences instead of things. Science has shown that experiences make people happier than things. Take heed. You’ll save on wrapping, and so much more!

Christmas

8. Get creative with your wrapping. Contrary to popular belief, most wrapping paper isn’t recyclable. Papers with glitter or metallic contain plastics and belong in the trash. But there are tons of creative, fun ways to wrap without any waste.

9. Consider decorating a potted tree. Live trees are good for the environment and your garden, and they are adorable to boot! Learn how to pick and care for a living tree and keep the spirit of Christmas alive year-round.

10. Send digital or recyclable holiday greetings. More than 1.6 billion cards purchased each year are Christmas cards. Be selective about who you send physical cards to, and choose recyclable options that don’t contain foil or glitter.